2. I finished the mural on Wednesday, which gave me a couple of much-needed days at home to clean up the house, unpack my mural supplies, fill some orders, and generally restore order to life. Whew. I like that feeling. I was also pleasantly surprised when Josh came home a day early due to cancelled classes on Friday, so we got some good extra time together... even managed to go out to our favorite Thai place for dinner last night with some good friends. Good times.
3. I always listen to audio books while I'm working on paintings - especially murals. So, while finishing up this latest mural, I worked my way through several audio books. Below are the titles and a few thoughts on each:
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
- An excellent book - one every Christian should read (or listen to). I read this in high school, but it was great to revisit it via the audio version. It is such a vivid description of the Christian walk/life. I said this before, but I think it's an interesting exercise to go through the book and then try to figure out what your name would be if your entire character had to be summed up in one word.... Scary thought - we might behave a lot differently if people called us by our REAL names... just a thought.
- I had read this one before also, but it was a fun listen. The reader for this book did an excellent job - he did the "voices" for each character and such. Lots of fun, and a quintessential adventure story. Stevenson is so good at character development.
- Wow - what an excellent book! I would like to read this one again after hearing the audio version. It's similar in many ways to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. He basically tells his own conversion story and the thinking process that led him to his "discovery" of Biblical Christian orthodoxy. He's quite brainy, which is why I'd like to read it again myself without multi-tasking - I'm sure I missed a lot of good points. He's also quite funny - I really enjoyed his sense of humor.
- Another gem... in this, Chesterton takes everyday little objects or occurrences and turns them into profound object lessons. I plan on going back and reading this one again without any other distractions.... good stuff.
- I read this in high school or junior high, but I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it in the audio version. Such an excellent story... When he started planning this novel, Wallace was not a Christian and set out to "disprove" Christianity through the research and writing of this novel. Things didn't turn out the way he planned, however - his studies led to his own conversion, and the novel is one of the best pieces of Christian fiction ever written.
- Another fun book. I read this in college for an American Literature class I took, and I have been enjoying it just as much the second time around as I did then. Twain is a master of humor. The novel is the chronicle of the narrator's trip "across the Pond." If you're an American and have ever travelled outside the United States (especially with a group of other tourists), you will find this especially funny and insightful. His insights on human nature (and perfect descriptions of the stereotypical "American tourist") are priceless. Those of you from outside the United States (who have been so kind as to allow us tourists into your own home countries) will probably get a chuckle from the descriptions as well... :o) A little warning - it does contain some of the racial slurs and stereotypes that have made Twain's book so controversial, so be prepared for that. Twain does, however, make just as much fun of himself and his own companions as he does of any of the foreign folks they encounter, so I suppose you could say that he mocks everyone equally. Anyway, on the whole, the book is hilarious.
4. Today I received something exciting in the mail from a faraway place....
One of my favorite things about blogging is the way it lets you discover "kindred-spirits" all over the world. I recently connected with this sweet lady when she was kind enough to e-mail me after finding my blog, and I have been enjoying "getting to know her" here in blogland. Jenni C. is from South Africa, and I am completely fascinated by her photos of her beautiful country. I was also excited to discover that we share a mutual love for Jesus and also for creating art...
A few weeks ago I was thrilled to learn that I won a giveaway she was offering on her blog..... and today, the package arrived in the mail!
After oohing-and ahhing over the beautiful South African stamps, the handmade tag, and lovely fabric wrapping the surprise....
...I opened it to discover a beautiful, shimmering piece of Jenni's original artwork:
The piece is entitled "I Am Captured by His Love," and is a 6"x8" mixed media on a canvas panel. You can't really see it in this photo, but it has a beautiful iridescent sparkle to it, and the theme is perfect for a month celebrating love.... I love how this piece captures the feeling of God's great love for us and how we can rejoice in it.
Thank you so much, Jenni! It's beautiful! This will be getting an honored spot in my little studio - a great reminder of God's love for me, and also some beautiful artistic inspiration. Thank you! :o)
I hope you are having a lovely weekend, wherever you are, and rejoicing in God's great love for you....